Israeli warships intercepted three fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip and abducted nine Palestinian fishermen on Saturday, Hamas sources say.
The Israeli military confirmed it had stopped three fishing boats and arrested those on board but did not specify how many people were detained, according to the AFP.
"Last night an IDF (Israeli military) naval force arrested three fishing boats that had illegally crossed from the permitted Gaza fishing zone towards Egyptian waters," said a military spokesman.
The Israeli Navy maintains a close surveillance on the Gaza strip as part of a general blockade imposed on the territory since Hamas took control of the region in June 2007.
Under the blockade, Israel prevents fishermen from venturing more than five kilometers (three miles) offshore, even though a 2002 agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority set the boundary at 22 kilometers (13.5 miles).